28/02/2022 Update: The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will close on 17th March 2022 and employers have until 24th March to submit any new claims for absence periods up to 17th March, or to amend claims you have already submitted. You will no longer be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for any COVID-19 related absences that occur after 17th March.
As of 25th March, there’ll be a return to the normal SSP rules, meaning it will be payable from the fourth qualifying day an employee is off work, regardless of the reason for their sickness absence.
BrightPay users should be aware of this change and select the normal SSP option when recording any sickness related absences from 25th March, regardless of whether or not it is COVID-19 related.
On 21st December 2021, it was announced that the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) would be reopened in January 2022 for small and medium sized businesses across the UK. The scheme has been reintroduced as support for businesses impacted by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The updated SSPRS allows eligible employers to claim back some of their Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs for employees who are eligible for sick pay due to COVID-19. Businesses can also claim back SSP retrospectively for employees for any qualifying days on or after 21st December 2021.
The 30th of November, 2021 is the date used to establish an employer's eligibility for the SSP Rebate Scheme. To qualify to claim back SSP the employer must:
Employers can claim back SSP for employees who qualify for SSP and who cannot work because they are off sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19 on or after 21st December, 2021 up until 17th March, 2022.
To claim back SSP for an employee they must meet the following criteria:
BrightPay Payroll Software has recently upgraded their software to cater for employers making claims for employees who were off work due to COVID-19 on or after 21st December, 2021. Our Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme tool has been designed to assist users in ascertaining SSP reclaimable amounts for entry into Gov.UK’s online service for claiming back SSP.
The SSPRS will close on 17th March 2022 and employers have until 24th March 2022 to submit any new claims for absence periods up to 17th March 2022, or to amend claims you have already submitted. You will no longer be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for any COVID-19 related absences that occur after 17th March.
If you’re looking to switch to BrightPay, we offer dedicated migration specialists to help you through the importing and set-up process. You can book a free migration consultation here.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme was introduced to repay employers the current amount of Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees on or after 13th March 2020 for periods of sickness related to Coronavirus. An employer can claim up to 2 weeks of COVID-related statutory sick pay for an employee that was paid, however this will end on 30th September 2021.
Employers will have up to the deadline on 31st December 2021 to reclaim back Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay on this scheme for periods before and up to the end of September 2021. HMRC’s main guidance for claims under this scheme can be accessed here.
The employer must keep records for the statutory sick payments they wish to claim from HMRC such as:
Hybrid working ????? is now seen as a permanent way of working by employers and employees alike. Key to its success is ensuring you have the right tools and know-how to deliver your services as usual. Download our guide to find out more: https://t.co/VkSUkbh8sT pic.twitter.com/MOGYT6BTr6— BrightPay UK (@BrightPayUK) September 8, 2021
Remote and hybrid working has forced us to explore payroll tools that we otherwise may not have considered pre-pandemic. Using BrightPay payroll software along with the add-on product, BrightPay Connect, enables features that cater for the long-term impacts of furlough.
Having access to payroll data from any location is so important. It’s even more important to keep that information safe. BrightPay Connect will automatically backup a payroll file every 15 minutes when open and again when the payroll file is closed down. You will never lose your payroll data again as it can be quickly restored if needed.
One of the biggest changes we have seen in the workplace in recent times is the move to hybrid working. Since working from home during lockdowns, employees have been able to create a better work/life balance and hence want to work some days in the office and some days at home. Each BrightPay licence can be installed on up to 10 devices, meaning payroll can be processed on multiple PCs from anywhere.
With BrightPay Connect, both employers and bureaus have the option to add as many users as they wish to a BrightPay Connect licence at no additional cost. You can also restrict access for these users – for example, some users might be able to view payroll data, and distribute HR documents to employees, while another user, say a sales manager, for example, can be set up so that they can approve leave for employees within their department, with no access to payroll data or confidential documents.
With BrightPay Connect, you can upload any type of document or resource that you want to distribute to your employees via a secure online portal that they can access 24/7. Documents such as a company handbook, a contract of employment, the weekly roster, your COVID-19 Response Plan or even a vaccine policy can be uploaded. Having a secure portal where documents are organised all in the one place, makes it easier for employees to find something when they need it, especially when they are out of the office.
When there is more than one person working on the same employer file at the same time, it is important that no conflicting copies are created which could result in mistakes in the payroll. This was a challenge at the beginning of the pandemic when people had to start working from home and were unprepared. BrightPay Connect includes a ‘version checking’ feature when opening an employer file, and an ‘other users check’ to prevent the risk of conflicting copies.
You no longer need to visit or work from your client’s base to process their payroll. You don’t need to make phone calls or even email your client’s looking for payroll information anymore! BrightPay Connect gives bureaus the ability to send payroll requests to their clients, where they will be able to enter payments, additions and deductions via a secure portal. The approval feature allows bureaus to securely send their clients a payroll summary before the payroll is finalised to ensure 100% accuracy. Save time, resources and even reduce your carbon footprint!
COVID-19 made working from home a necessity overnight, whether we preferred working that way or not. Unfortunately, many businesses had to close their doors as their work duties could not be completed at home. The COVID-19 lockdown was effectively a mass experiment in remote working, and one that many businesses and employees feel was at least a partial success. The world of work may change forever as employees want hybrid working to be the future by working some days from the office and some days from home. If businesses get it right, hybrid working has significant benefits.
A recent study of 2,000 UK employees revealed that 67% of those working remotely since COVID-19 want to be able to split their time between the physical workplace and home working in the future. Working from home allows employees to spend more time with their partner, family or pets during lunch breaks and time they would have spent commuting. It also allows them to get chores around the house done or time to fully relax.
Employers and payroll processors can also enjoy hybrid working as they don’t need to worry about having to complete payroll tasks in one set location. BrightPay payroll files can be accessed remotely through cloud environments like a shared server, Google Drive or Dropbox. This flexibility will allow users to continue to operate their payroll as normal and can be installed on up to 10 PCs.
Keeping employees connected by effective communication is key. Employers must continue to provide multi communication channels for employees. It shouldn’t matter whether they are attending a meeting online via Zoom or in person face-to-face, the outcome should be the same.
One of the biggest frustrations for many employees working remotely is not having access to the physical paper-based files they had in the office. BrightPay Connect can help. BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to BrightPay's payroll desktop application. It offers a HR Document Upload feature which allows managers to share documents with individuals, departments or the whole company at the touch of a button anytime, anywhere. Employees can access it using their smartphone or tablet device.
Regular communication is essential for hybrid working. Without it, employees can feel disconnected, morale can dip, and priorities can become confused. The click rate of a push notification is 7 times higher than that of email, and BrightPay Connect is a great way of communicating with employees when it comes to important updates.
It took a global pandemic for a lot of businesses to realise that productivity was not lowered by remote working.
Remote working can increase productivity. The top number of reasons include:
Working from the office can also benefit individuals as they are learning from others naturally e.g., overhearing a good sales call and getting tips to improve their own approach or building relationships with colleagues they might not work directly with.
A recent survey in the UK found that remote workers save the equivalent of 17 days when they don’t have to spend time getting to and from work with an average commute time of 50 minutes. This means less road rage and being late to work if you don’t have to commute every day! Remote working is vital to keeping air pollution to a minimum. Based on findings, working from home could cut 11 billion car miles per year.
BrightPay takes environmental responsibility seriously and is committed to developing our business towards ecological sustainability at both company and individual level. We are extremely excited to be opening our new carbon efficient offices in 2021.
Overall, a work/life balance can increase an individual’s happiness, fulfilment and job satisfaction.
Find out more about BrightPay and BrightPay Connect by booking a free 15-minute online demo.
Employers need to make a claim for their grant for their furloughed workers through HMRC's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online service. This is where employers can claim for some of their employee’s wages if they have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of COVID-19.
Furlough claims must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend, in which case the deadline is the next weekday. The next deadline for claims relating to June 2021 will be 14th July 2021. Employers can make claims before, during or after the payroll is run.
Employers can only make one claim per claim period, so you must include all furloughed and flexibly furloughed employees in the one claim, even if you pay them at different times. When claiming for employees on flexible furlough, employers will need to report hours worked along with the worker's usual hours in a claim period. Therefore, it is best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours your employees will work so that you don’t have to amend your claim at a later date.
It’s important to note however that if the pay period crosses two calendar months, two separate claims are required to reclaim the furlough pay, for example, a claim in June would be needed to cover the dates falling in June and a claim in July will be needed for the dates falling in July.
Employers need to make a claim through HMRC’s online claim portal to avail of the scheme. BrightPay payroll software includes a CJRS Claim Report which can be used to ascertain the amounts needed for input into HMRC’s online service.
Find out more about how BrightPay caters for COVID-19 functionality by booking a free online product demo. BrightPay’s overall response to COVID-19 was rated 99.1% in a recent customer survey from May 2021, and this included payroll upgrades, webinars, online guidance and customer support.
Although lockdown restrictions are continuing to ease, many businesses are still dependant on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for paying their employees. The latest HMRC figures show that 2.4 million people still relied on the furlough scheme for their income at the end of May 2021. Although numbers continued to fall in June, it is estimated that there are now between 1.3 million and 1.9 million people on the scheme.
New rules since 1st July mean that employers are now required to pay 10% of their employees' wages to make up 80% of their pay (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month), with the government contribution now reduced to 70% of the employee’s wages.
But now that employers have the added expense of contributing to wage costs, they are looking for more clarity on how their employees' wages are calculated for the purposes of furlough.
There are different calculations to consider when calculating your employee’s usual wages for furlough, depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours:
Click here to find out more about furlough reference period rules.
Regardless of what the employee’s pay is now, you must still use the wages payable in the relevant reference period when calculating their furlough pay. The majority of employees have a 19th March 2020 reference date, i.e. those who were eligible for furlough under the original scheme, regardless of whether or not they were actually placed on furlough at that time.
For employees who are paid minimum wage, there have been two increases to the National Minimum Wage rate since 19th March 2020. While employees must be paid the new rate for hours worked (or doing work-related training), the furlough pay is still calculated on the wages payable in the reference period, even if this means that their hourly rate will fall below minimum wage.
Regardless of the National Minimum Wage, where employees pay has increased (for example if they got a promotion or an annual wage increase), the wages payable at the reference period must still be used when calculating the 80% of wages.
On the other hand, where an employees pay has been reduced, for example if there has been a slowdown in business and the employee is now working fewer hours, again the reference period must still be used. Therefore, in this scenario, the employee’s furlough pay may, in fact, work out much higher than the wages they would be earning if they weren’t on furlough.
BrightPay provides functionality to calculate and apply furlough pay to an employee's payslip, and this includes support for flexible furlough. By entering in the employee’s usual hours worked and the actual hours worked into BrightPay, the software will automatically calculate the pro-rated subsidy. For more information, you can also view HMRC’s help guidance for examples of how to work out 80% of your employee’s usual wage.
Join BrightPay for a free webinar on 28th July where their team of payroll and HR experts discuss recent changes to the furlough scheme and the challenge of reference periods. There will also be a live Q&A session to answer any questions that you may have.
Limited Places Remaining – Click here to reserve your place.
Finally, the country is beginning to reopen and there is an end of COVID-19 in sight! BrightPay are hosting a free online webinar where our team of experts discuss the recent changes to the furlough scheme including the extension of the scheme until 30th September 2021.
Join our upcoming webinar on 18th May at 10.30 am BST and learn:
Download a free copy of our latest eBook: Top tips for managing employees as lockdown ends (and what you should avoid). We discuss the need for a Vaccine Policy and other challenges that employers and HR managers will face over the coming months as the country re-opens and employees start requesting annual leave.
One of the biggest frustrations for many employees who now work from home is not having access to the physical paper-based files they had in the office. Many organisations still rely on a HR cabinet which stores sensitive employee data such as contracts of employment, annual leave requests and appraisal documents. Due to COVID-19, the new remote working culture has created many new challenges, data security being a significant one. How secure is your filing cabinet, particularly when you aren’t in the office?
Without the added challenge of a pandemic, HR productivity and managing HR workflows are everyday issues. Common tasks such as the managing of annual leave requests/cancelling requests or dealing with employee queries such as, ‘‘Can I have a copy of my last 3 payslips?’’ can take up unnecessary amounts of time.
BrightPay Connect can help. BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to BrightPay's payroll desktop application that offers employers flexibility and online benefits, making the payroll process easier.
Along with many other features, BrightPay Connect offers a HR Document Upload feature which allows managers to share documents with individuals, teams or the whole company at the touch of a button. Distribute the company handbook to all employees or upload an individual’s contract of employment, performance reviews or training material. The document upload feature ensures company documents are organised and that employees can securely access HR information anytime, anywhere using their smartphone or tablet device.
Regular communication is an essential way to help your teams adjust to home working. Without it your employees can feel disconnected, morale can dip, and priorities can become confused.
BrightPay Connect’s HR Document Upload tool can be used to distribute COVID-19 mandatory documents such as a COVID-19 Safe Working Policy, the company newsletter or details of the Return-to-Work Policy. The notification system will stand out and draw employees to read the communications via an employee app, avoiding it becoming lost in their email inbox.
Sending this important information directly to the employee’s phone is so much more powerful than simply sending a company-wide email. The click rate of a push notification is 7 times higher than that of email, and so it’s a great way of communicating with employees when it comes to important updates.
Things can – and should – be much simpler in your HR department. And with BrightPay Connect, that’s the new reality. Book a demo of BrightPay Connect today and see how you can eliminate time-consuming HR tasks.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day - stuck in an endless purgatory of the same day repeating itself over and over again with no escape. Yes it’s another day, another lockdown and it feels never-ending. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (in which case, is there room for one more?) you’ll know that England is now in a strict national lockdown until mid-February. That means that all non-essential business, schools and universities need to close and we all have to stay at home.
What does this mean for businesses and employees now who are once again affected by this absolute fiasco? Well, it seems it’s business as usual if you will pardon the pun, as not much has changed. However, Rishi Sunk did unveil “more financial support” for businesses affected by the lockdown measures yesterday morning (note my use of inverted commas). Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will now be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £9,000 per property.
On top of these one-off £9k grants, a further £594m discretionary fund will be made available via local authorities and devolved administrations to support other businesses outside of these sectors who have also been affected by the lockdown.
There are already existing support packages in place though. These include grants of up to £3,000 for closed businesses, 100% business rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail, and of course, everyone’s good ol’ pal furlough. While Rishi has been very quiet on further furlough support, the current scheme is due to run until the end of April as it is so this seems the government are still optimistic that we will be out of the woods by then with the rollout of the mass vaccination programme. Remember, you can apply for furlough at any time, even if you have never claimed under the scheme before.
Along with furlough, other notable absentees from Rishi’s measures included extending the business rates holiday (which ends in April), VAT cut, or an increase in statutory sick pay, despite calls from business leaders for such moves. Even with the new £4.6bn support package, is it enough?
With Englands’s lockdown due to be reviewed on February 15th and Scotland’s at the end of January we now enter another period of stasis. We can only hope that this really is the last time we have to endure this and hope that all the hard work that has gone into keeping businesses afloat and employees on the payroll over the past 10 months has not been in vain. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming weeks. And with that, I’m off to bake my seventy-sixth loaf of banana bread and have a cry into the tea towel.
I’ve been called a hero a couple of times in my life. There was that time at uni when I whipped out a bottle of Apple Sourz at an afterparty. Or there was the time when I saved a baby bird from being eaten by my dog. But none of these times hold a candle to how good it feels to be part of the team at BrightPay Payroll Software who have won the COVID Hero Supplier Award at the Accounting Software Excellence Awards 2020.
Sure, it would have been great to do a clean sweep and win all the awards going, (we were nominated for 3 in total) but this one has a special place in our hearts as we have put so much into making sure our customers have felt supported during what has surely been one of the toughest periods of time in living memory. So to be not only recognised for our efforts but awarded for them, well - let’s just say *gulp* sorry I just need a moment I have something in my eye.
There were a number of criteria that were considered by the panel for this award. Judging took into account the speed, time and relevance of businesses’ COVID-19 response and how many customers accessed it. They were looking for businesses that really went the extra mile and thought outside the box to make their customers feel supported, whilst also managing to reflect their brand values.
As BrightPay’s core brand value is to provide outstanding payroll software with amazing customer support at affordable pricing, the fact that we managed to maintain this during the pandemic and up our ante to match the ever-changing needs of our clients AND be awarded for it is very special indeed.
Speaking at the Accounting Excellence Awards, host extraordinaire Mike Goldsmith said “the judges saw that BrightPay went above and beyond to support their clientbase and payroll professionals at a time when they were under pressure with furlough claims and interpreting guidance. BrightPay did this through a coordinated strategy that went beyond product enhancement. Their success in this was evidenced by high customer satisfaction and impressive reach with their support material.”. Brb, off to print this off on t-shirts for all the staff.
So thank you to all our customers as, without you, we really would be nothing! This will be an extra reason to celebrate at our virtual Christmas party this weekend (any excuse for an extra glass of bubbly!).